“Associations are Sitting on a Mountain of Data"

Lou Ann Sabatier, keynoter at the annual meeting of Association Media & Publishing (AM&P) told attendees in June their organizations "are sitting on a mountain of data" they can use to drive growth in membership, member engagement, and revenue.

Not only will big data analytics help drive different facets of growth, she said, but are crucial to association publishers who want to respond intelligently to shifts in audience needs.

“Business intelligence can make publishing professionals aware of market changes on a more timely basis," she said, "which enables associations to respond more quickly to member needs.”

To help association publishers benchmark their activities, Sabatier's consulting firm next month will conduct AM&P's first all-industry study of association publishing in over a decade.

Data-gathering begins September 5, when AM&P members (and qualified non-members) will get an email requesting their participation.

The survey will close September 29.

The information Sabatier seeks is so far-ranging and complex, several association staff members may have to participate, to complete each survey.

All associations completing and returning the survey by the deadline will receive the study’s executive summary, raw data, and analysis in November.

The study will later become available for purchase by non-participants.

Currently, association publishers must base many of their business decisions on whatever they can learn by asking their own members about new trends in information needs and media preferences.

That's fine, except for the fact that many of the "readership trends" members identify turn out to be idiosyncratic wants or momentary fads.

Publishers lack a bigger picture.

“The interpretation of the data will provide members with the ‘so what?’ answers that this industry needs right now," Sabatier told attendees.

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